Encouraged by Emily P Freeman, I’m trying to pay attention to what I have noticed and learnt through this past season. I’ve noticed that I note things I’m learning as I go through photos and notes on Instagram. So this post serves as seasonal roundup of the things I have learnt about this past Autumn/fall. I’ve categorised them under, Rest, Soul, Home, Business.
This autumn we had some time away in the forest with my family. I love the feeling of being surrounded by trees and while we were there, there were some beautiful sights. The wildlife were quite friendly, we spotted rabbits, deer, and squirrels. I also saw some most beautiful toadstools which I haven’t seen for years.
I don’t know what made me stumble across the Japanese concept of forest bathing but I was delighted to learn that scientific research found that spending time in the forest reduces blood pressure, lowers cortisol levels and improves concentration and memory levels. Chemicals released by trees could have an anti-microbial effect on our bodies and boost the immune system. Forest bathing is part of the Japanese national health system.
It is fascinating to me that God would create a natural world that is good for us beyond the mere visual and obvious benefits. I also wondered whether part of my connection to the beauty of trees was maybe because so much of my work as a designer and writer has been with paper? A stretch? I don’t know, but I feel a connection to trees and paper – I love good paper stock!
Let the books live!
We are lucky to live near Blenheim Palace. We have spent many hours tramping the grounds, going to the organised events, but recently a trip with friends meant going inside the palace which I haven’t done for years. Visiting the library I was at first impressed and amazed when the guide told me that it was home to over 10,000 books. But thinking back it actually made me a bit sad. 10,000 books which, poignantly live behind a cage on the front of the bookcase. No one reads all of these ancient tomes. If they weren’t housed in some grand palace but piled in any other place we would call it hoarding. Books caged away as part of some wealthy hoarding is not what they were intended for. I hope that many have been read and loved in that grand collection.
Intentionally looking for beauty
Some days it’s hard to find the good, and beautiful. On those days I have to search for it intentionally. I have to go somewhere to find it and what God is saying to me there.
Cathedrals were built for the many, not just the one
My daughter’s school choir sang at a remembrance day service in Christchurch college cathedral in Oxford. We were sat in not a great place with no view. These Cathedrals were built for a different function than we consider church services to be these days. Where we sat, the speakers didn’t work and lone orators words were hard to distinguish, but the choir! Beautiful voices soared and the carved stone dome of the roof carried their voices clearly and beautifully. It made me wonder if that was not the intention of these vast stone cathedrals – so that the voices of many could be heard carrying worship.
Give anything a bit of white space or room to breathe and it enhances its beauty.
Reminded of this through a bouquet I bought. Placed in the first vase the flowers look uptight and crammed in. The wider mouth vase lets the flowers make more of a statement together but with space for each bloom to shine.
Smells and bells
The cozy minimalist course reminded me that smells and sounds can help to create a cozy atmosphere. Despite loving scented candles and music, I’d never really thought about the intentionality of using smell and sound to create a cozy home. At Christmas I love the smell of the tree and Christmas music but what if I thought about that for each season?
Colours affect me more than I realise
When there has been a string of grey days and rain I don’t fare too well. It affects my mood, motivation and outlook. ONe thing that cheered me a little was making some bright carrot soup. Plus it helped that it was delicious. Normally too lazy to make soup, it seems like a lot of veg peeling, but we always seem to have an abundance of carrots in the fridge and my choice for carrot soup was no more complicated than that. It is so simple and easy to make! It really did taste better than from a carton, cliche but true. This is the recipe I used.
Lessons learnt from launching iola bloom.
You loved the free verse cards we gave away with the first few orders. (they are now available for sale in the shop) Note for the next issue. But the magazine freebies giveaway competition wasn’t so popular.
I had a stand at a local event for iola magazine, I spent time thinking about the visual concept and loved the creativity of it. But I noticed that people were drawn to the oversized cover I had printed and the vase of flowers rather than the little details. I think this is true of many creative projects sometimes we can get distracted or overwhelmed in the details and it’s always the cure to get back to the larger picture.